Unexpectedly harder and cracked

She is too fond of booksI have this great idea for a series of mugs. Quotes about literature! And I could sell them in a local bookstore! I’ve been wanting to do these for a while. So why didn’t they come out fully-formed and perfect?!

They almost did.

I was so excited when I fired these; I had eight mugs, with the frames painted in four different colors (two each) and the insides of the mugs glazed to match the frames. Then I overglazed one of each color in Gray Spice, and one in Spiced Cream. After firing, my plan was to print out the quotes, stencil them on, and go over then with my Porcelaine pen.

I took the mugs to the bookstore where I have plans to sell them, and the owner was thrilled. We bounced around a couple of quote ideas, and I was given the thumbs up. I took the mugs home (all safely boxed up) and then got involved in other things for about three days (New Dog).

When I opened the box to begin the stenciling and penning process… I noticed that a few of the mugs were starting to crackle. Or I guess I should say “craze.” Crazing primarily happens (in my experience) when the glaze cools faster than the ceramic piece, making small cracks in the glaze. This can happen immediately or even years later, and I’ve seen it happen both if I take something out of the kiln too early, or in using a microwave to reheat my coffee, even on a mug I’ve had for years.

But this was a little different. It’s not in the spiderweb pattern I’m used to; it’s straight lines running up and down the piece. And it’s only on the outside; the inside glaze is just fine, and the mugs are completely usable. You can’t even feel the cracks on the outside if you run your finger over them.

But I don’t know what to do — I mean, I don’t even feel I can sell them like that, and certainly not at the bookstore. Part of me says to put them up for sale on my shop, in the sale section. Part of me is eyeballing them as gifts for eight different friends. But I just don’t know. I do know that I need to make them again, though, because I really want to have these at the bookstore! So, since this is a bisque piece I ordered from a supplier, I found a different supplier who also carries them and I’ve ordered more. This time I’m going to run them through the kiln first, at a bisque firing, to make sure they’ve fired completely (as that might be part of the problem with the ones that are crazing).

Oh, and did I mention the typeface issue? It’s very hard to find a typeface that will remain readable after being laid out in a graphics program, monkeyed with to fit the available space (which is not really a rectangle since the frame is 3″ at the top and 2.5″ at the bottom, but just try to do that in a graphics program when you are me and not a graphic designer), will also still remain legible after stenciling and penning, but will also still be pretty and will not look like I just wrote that shit on there with a Sharpie (examples of which you can find ALL OVER PINTEREST). Yes, I am picky. I went through three different typefaces (two of which I actually shelled out money for!) and my own handwriting. Unless I change my mind again, I am going with Gulyesa (thank you, Mariana, for the link to that website, I could look at typeface all day…. which may explain what happened to my Wednesday last week, har har).

ANYWAY. My point is that I did something I’ve really wanted to do, but it all came out wrong, well, not wrong but certainly not right, but I’m moving on, because success is leaping from one failure to another with no lack of enthusiasm (if I can paraphrase Winston Churchill).

3 comments

  1. Stick the crackled ones in the store too and see if anybody buys them. Some folks will go for the imperfect look; it seems more Artistic and Hand Made.

  2. Maybe this explains the crackling on my flea market teapot. I sort of like the effect, sort of an aging process.

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